Provided by Dorothy Farrar Carson
Given to StC by Lucy Farrar
Old records show that in the early part of the nineteenth century a Mr. Barnes from Alabama owned a large tract of land in the vicinity of present-day Lillie. In 1840 Wince Farrar and his wife Mandy, with their slaves and other possessions, migrated from Alabama into this section and bought 320 acres of land from Mr. Barnes. Other early settlers moving in from Georgia and Alabama were the Vines, McCullers, John Farrars, Keinards, Thurmons, Thorntons, Washams, Meltons, Sidney W. Nicklas, Bill Duncan, and Tommy and Jack Gilbert.
Frank Farrar, son of Wince Farrar, leaving his father’s home in 1884, bought 200 acres of land and built a log cabin on it. When the Arkansas Southern Railroad was being extended south from Junction City, he made a trade with its builder, Captain C. C. Henderson, to locate the station on his land. As Captain Henderson had planned to build the station a mile farther south, Mr. Farrar offered him a right of way through his land and the site on which to build the station if he would change the location. Captain Henderson agreed to do so and named the station “Lillie” for Mr. Farrar’s oldest daughter.
In 1899 the railroad was completed, and in the same year, as virgin pines stood in abundance in every direction, J. W. Nicklas built in the new community of Lillie the first steam saw mill and planer. People began moving in, building their homes and stores in a cluster around the new station. In the 1920’s the Barringer Lumber Company operated in Lillie and gave it another period of prosperity. In 1913 and 1914 a small influx of share-croppers moved in. Since then Lillie has experienced no increase in population.
In 1892 the first school in this area, a one room log building, was built one mile west of where Lillie now stands. It was named Union Grove School and was first taught by a Mr. Harterson. Thirty boys and girls were enrolled who studied the three “R’s” and paid a tuition of two to four dollars a month for the privilege of doing so. In 1903, as this log school house had become inadequate, a two-story frame building replaced it. This building served as a school and community center for many years. Mr. J. G. Ray was employed as the first principal of the school. Seeing possibilities of bringing in pupils from some of the surrounding communities, he interested Reverend and Mrs. Webb in building and operating a dormitory for their benefit. In 1910 Mr. Ray was succeeded by Mr. P. E. Odom from Tennessee. A product of the school at these times was Dr. Joe Farrar, who later became president of Northwestern College at Natchitoches. For a number of years the school was the pride of the community, but the enrollment began to move. Later on when Union Parish decided to send all high school pupils to only six schools in the parish, the high school students of Lillie were sent by bus to Bernice. In 1945 the entire school was consolidated with Bernice. Today there is no school in Lillie, but the boys and girls of the community are receiving the best modern education.
In 1896 the Union Grove Church was organized at Lillie and held its first services in the little log school house, where its members continued to worship until 1908. At this time they built a church on land given by Mr. Charlie Goss. This Church is one of the most thriving little churches in the Everett Association.
Although Lillie has not grown to the big-town class, she is today a contented little village that can make a distinctive claim—almost every person in the community is kin either by blood or by marriage. Her people enjoy the conveniences of modern life and a fair share of prosperity, their prosperity coming from diversified farming, the sale of timber, and the sale of oil and gas leases. Her people take their citizenship seriously; at election time the ballots cast would do credit to a much larger town. The Pershing Highway running north and south through her main street, with the railroad, gives her easy access to the outside world.